By MATT SCHUCKMAN and JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Staff
Pittsfield boys basketball coach Brad Tomhave and the school's administration spent the last three weeks preparing for their annual Thanksgiving tournament.
Monday afternoon, they had about three hours to revamp everything.
A Missouri State High School Activities Association by-law limiting the number of games schools can play in a tournament forced Hannibal to nearly withdraw from the Pittsfield event. The Pirates are still playing, although the schedule and format had to be changed at the very last minute.
"We're trying to make it work for everyone," Tomhave said.
The organizers of the Gully Transportation QND/Suns Classic Tip-Off Tournament might have to do the same thing with Missouri schools Knox County and Kirksville in the field.
According to Bylaw 3.18 in the official MSHSAA handbook, "no team may compete in more than three games except in a holiday or conference tournament ..., where the limit is four games."
Both the Pittsfield tournament and the QND/Suns Classic were set up to give each team five games. In Pittsfield's case, teams were going to play twice on Saturday.
That is a violation of MSHSAA bylaws as well.
The penalty for a bylaw violation is to forfeit a spot in the district tournament, meaning the offending team would be barred from postseason play.
Tomhave, Pittsfield athletic director Don Bigley and Hannibal athletic director Brian Trowbridge worked through the problems this created. Pittsfield scaled it tournament back from five games for each team to just four games, eliminating the first of Saturday's two sessions.
Hannibal is taking its varsity to Pittsfield for three of its four games, while the Hannibal JV will play Pittsfield on Wednesday.
QND athletic director Bill Connell said Monday night he is still working on clarifying how many games each school can play.
"(Monday), around 5 p.m. I was informed by Kirksville High School and Knox County High School that we had some MSHSAA issues," Connell said. "We're working now with those high schools and MSHSAA. We want everyone when they come to this tournament to be happy but also to follow under the guidelines of their high schools. ... We don't want anyone to get in trouble.
"Over 17 years of me being AD here, we've had Missouri schools here the entire time. It was a huge surprise to me. We don't want any program in jeopardy. All the ADs are working with MSHSAA to make sure everything is right."
Knox County coach Zach Summers said he believes his team will get three games in.
"As of right now, I think that's what MSHSAA is going with," Summers said. "I think they should hook us up a little bit because when they sanction a tournament and say we're OK in a tournament and then we come down here and show up, for them to say now we can't play, I think the least they could do is give us these three games. The three teams we're going to play here are three teams that are better then we'd see in a tournament in Missouri. We're still going to get what we need out of it."
QND coach Scott Douglas was disappointed with the confusion.
"You would like for it to be played as it was designed," Douglas said. "Evidently, that's not going to be the case. We know for sure we're going to get these three games, and they're going to be good games. I'm not sure what's going to happen this weekend."